As entry-level software developers come out of college, they often find it tough to land a job with just a degree and no working experience.
At the same time, a wide range of businesses are desperately seeking trained and skilled developers but can't find the right people with the right qualifications.
That's where Revature, which calls itself a talent development and delivery company, is trying an interesting approach – Revature provides three months of intensive and immersive hands-on residential training to new graduates and gives them the development skills that are being sought by a specific client – and then provides that trained worker under contract for two years.
The students gain the real-world development skills they need and a guaranteed job, while the client company gets a trained contractor who can help get projects completed in jobs they couldn't fill on their own.
The Revature coding training, which is paid for by Revature's client companies, is free for the incoming graduates.
"Our model is a significant resource for IT leaders to change the existing issues they have with entry-level software engineers, people who are just coming out of school," Joe Vacca, the chief marketing officer of Revature, told ITPro. "The reason we are in business is the skill sets the graduates have coming out of school can often be improved. They are not productive immediately, so we try to bring them up to speed with the latest technologies," including things they didn't learn in school.
Central to the process is providing the incoming graduates with the specific skills that Revature's client companies say they need in their workers, says Vacca. That includes topics such as .NET and Java coding, real-world details about how businesses actually operate, lessons about business acumen, information about "soft skills" and working with others as part of a team, and more.
"Our entire program is based on delivering a contracted and qualified software engineer to one of our partners" at the end of the three-month training period, he says.
Many businesses which needed developers formerly provided such in-house training on their own, says Vacca, but that approach has been going away for years.
Under the program, Reverture hires the college grads and then puts them through their training, depending on the client's requirements. The students undergo their training in one of several locations around the United States, including Arizona, Missouri, New York City or Reston, Va. Participating trainees are provided with housing and are paid for 40 hours a week. Most of the development skills sought by Revature's clients are Java- and .NET-based. When the students complete their training, they earn salaries between $40,000 to $70,000 annually from the companies which employ them under the program for two years.
Businesses typically want developers to have between two to four years of experience when they hire them, says Vacca. "Everyone wants experience – no one is really posting jobs for 'no experience required.'"
Revature bridges that gap for prospective employers "and I think the environment is right given the skills gap" in the marketplace, he says. "There are just not enough qualified people out there to meet the demand."
So far about 3,000 students have gone through the program in the three years Revature has been in business. The company says its own studies show that 97 percent of those participants remain technology jobs since completing their advanced studies, while about 70 percent of the students get hired by the companies they are working for as a contractor.
Revature has recently been incorporating DevOps into their training program because clients are demanding it, says Vacca. That DevOps training includes details of development tools such as Maven, Jenkins and Cucumber, "which can allow this next generation of engineers to start participating in the deployment, maintenance and testing of a project's lifecycle and in IT operations and not just in the creation of applications," he says.
Also offered is a free online training system, Revature Pro, where users can build programs and systems and real-world projects to test out their skills and experiment, according to Vacca. "We let people go in there and if we see someone who has really good skills we can contact them and offer to hire them for our program. We use it as a recruiting tool."
Among the large companies using Revature to help find, train and provide their developers are Capital One, Cigna, Highmark, Accenture, Microsoft, Comcast and Sprint.
Travis Pierre, 23, who is now working as a software developer for a federal agency through Revature, completed his own developer training through the program in January 2017 after earning his bachelor's degree in computer science from Stony Brook University in May of 2016.
Armed with his degree after college, he couldn't find a developer job because he had no work experience and every potential employer required it, he says.
"I thought 'who has experience out of the gate?'" says Pierre. A recruiter on a job board site told him about Revature and he signed up. "I thought this could help me because they had their ear on the ground about what employers wanted."
At Revature, Pierre got intensive training in Spring, HTML, Hibernate and other tools, he says. When the training was completed, he interviewed with the client he was training for and was hired. He works primarily as a Java programmer.
"I felt like in the college experience, they give you pieces to a puzzle, but there are different puzzles," he says. "Revature gave me the pieces to the puzzle I needed to solve" and the skills he knew would be sought by employers. "That was the best thing about it – you know there was a job at the end of the road. Not 'come out and find it,' but 'come out and it will find you.'"
Pierre says he is optimistic about his future in software development.
"I love it actually," he says. "I got to sit in a room and meet a community of developers" during the training. "Basically, the possibilities are endless."